Grow LA Victory Garden Classes 2011

Once again I am delighted to be teaching the Grow LA Victory Garden Classes in 2011. Please see details below for registration.

The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, the backyard or at a community garden. Participants are able to turn their interest in gardening into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by lowering grocery bills and enhancing opportunities for a healthier lifestyle.

The Grow LA Victory Garden classes are organized and led by UC California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Those who complete the 4-week training will become UC-Certified Victory Gardeners.

Place:
Hami Garden, Hamilton High School
2955 South Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Entrance on S. Canfield Ave (Between Cattaraugus and Kramerwood Pl)

The 4-week session is every Sunday for 3 hours.
Dates: May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM

List of topics include the following:
Week 1: Planning, tools, containers, building raised beds, seed starting, plant selection

Week 2: Soil preparation, soil properties, transplanting, irrigation, and mulching

Week 3: Composting, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects, organic pesticides and fertilizers.

Week 4: Harvesting, pollination, seed saving, fruit trees, recipes, review, graduation

The cost is $15 per class or $50 for the entire session. Only those taking all 4 sessions will be eligible for certificates. Please note, half of all proceeds go towards the Hamilton High School Garden Program.

Payment is available through Paypal or by check. My paypal account email address is gp305@yahoo.com or request invoice and I will forward one by email. You will be confirmed registration once payment is received.

Contact:
LA County Master Gardener George Pessin
Tel: 310-779-8816
Email: gp305@yahoo.com

Mailing Address:
834 Huntley Dr #4
Los Angeles, CA 90069

How to Grow Chayote

Chayote (pronounced: chah-YOH-teh) is in the Cucurbitaceae family, same as melons, cucumber, gourds, and squash. Its fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and the leaves and shoots are edible as well.

Here in Southern California it grows as a perennial. It has a vigorous vine that can grow to 30 ft making it perfect for chained link fences or some other form of trellis

To grow chayote in your garden the first thing you want to do is go to the market and purchase a few. Here in Los Angeles they can be found at many Hispanic markets (chayotes are native to Mexico). Leave them in a warm sunny place like a windowsill or countertop and wait for the seed to germinate, which can take approximately 4 weeks.

Once the stem appears, which will be from the larger fat end, plant it in a container (or in the ground) covering the entire fruit.

For more information see Chayote (Sechium edule) from hort.purdue.edu

For Chayote recipes see this nice collection from cdkitchen.com

Historical Society’s Sixth Annual Garden Party & Tour to Benefit School Greening

Photo by Mary E. Nichols

LOS ANGELES – The Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society’s sixth annual Garden Party & Tour will take place April 17, 2011. The tour encompasses the neighborhoods north of Wilshire Boulevard to Melrose Avenue, between Highland and Van Ness Avenues. This is a unique opportunity to see some of the oldest and most elegantly landscaped private properties in Los Angeles. Of special note is the tour’s dinner and silent auction at Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

Proceeds from this event are dedicated to continuing substantial greening work at LAUSD’s John Burroughs Middle School, and extending the beautification efforts along Wilshire Boulevard at McCadden Place.

The tour will be held in honor of Cindy Chvatal-Keane for her contributions to this historic neighborhood and the city of Los Angeles. Cindy is President of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, est. 1948. She cofounded the Hancock Park Historic Preservation Advocacy Group and was a key player in the establishment of a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) to protect the character of Hancock Park. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the California Science Center and is an Executive Producer of the acclaimed television series CSI.

The highlight of this year’s tour are the historic Ronnie Allumbaugh Gardens at Getty House, created in 1928 by renowned garden designer A.E. Hanson. They include the sunken “Blue” Garden and the Rose Garden, which were restored in 2010 and are rarely available for viewing by the general public.

The Historical Society’s Garden Party raised more than $30,000 for greening at John Burroughs Middle School in 2010. Additional funds were raised from business and community groups, including the Hancock Park Homeowners Association est. 1948 and Walt Disney Pictures. As a result, the front of the school was completely transformed, with new irrigation, hardscape, benches and plantings. Funds from the 2011 tour will extend the work south along McCadden Place, and turn the corner onto Wilshire Boulevard along the south end of the campus.

The 2008 and 2009 tours raised more than $30,000 for the creation of outdoor garden classroom planters, numerous fountains and a 3D sensory wall mural at the Frances Blend School Special Education Center (LAUSD), serving visually impaired children with multiple handicaps. Additional funds and support were provided by the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and Paramount Pictures.

In 2007, $13,000 raised from the tour was allocated toward the installation and planting of landscaped traffic islands on Wilton Place, a busy street in the neighborhood. This endowment enabled complete funding of the project by the City of Los Angeles, and our funds were returned. They were reallocated to a greening project at LAUSD’s Wilshire Crest School and a bronze plaque at Robert Burns Park.

The inaugural year of the tour was 2006, and the Historical Society raised $10,000, which was donated to the City of Los Angeles toward developing a green median on Larchmont Boulevard just north of Beverly Boulevard.

Getty House serves as the beginning and end of this wonderful afternoon. At check-in, attendees will obtain programs with a map indicating the addresses of all the private gardens, which are not revealed until the day of the tour. Getty House is also the site of an afternoon lecture, “Organic Container Gardening,” by Jo Anne Trigo of Two Dog Organic Nursery.

Attendees are advised to wear flat shoes, and to bring hats and sunglasses.

Following the tour, all attendees are invited to return to Getty House for a light supper, a spectacular silent auction and a presentation to this year’s honoree.

Tickets to the event are $55 each and can be purchased online at www.wshphs.org or by mail from:

WSHPHS Garden Tour
137 N. Larchmont Blvd., #135
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Tel: 213-243-8182

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation

New Village Press has published Sharon Gamson Danks’ Asphalt to Ecosystems, an illuminating guidebook for designing and building creative, ecologically diverse schoolyards and integrating nature into learning and play activities across K-12 curricula. With a wealth of practical advice and over 500 color photographs, Sharon Danks offers a fully illustrated, easy-to-understand guide for transforming the traditional school ground’s slab of asphalt into edible gardens, wildlife habitats, and other sustainable uses.

Using real-life examples from over 150 schools in 11 countries, Danks takes readers on a tour of successful green schoolyards emerging from vastly different climates and sensibilities: a permaculture project with fruit trees, vegetables, chickens, an apiary, and outdoor cooking facilities; wilderness habitats with prairie grasses and ponds, or forest and desert ecosystems; schoolyard watershed models, rainwater catchment systems and waste-water treatment wetlands; renewable energy systems; and waste-as-a-resource projects that give new life to old materials in beautiful ways.

Along the way, Danks includes K-12 curriculum ideas offering creative connections to a wide range of disciplines from the sciences to the humanities, evincing the many benefits and applications of designing and building green schoolyards: experiential learning opportunities that deepen students’ understanding of abstract concepts; play-based solutions to the problem of childhood obesity; and opportunities for social and emotional development through the cooperative, problem-solving activities involved in both the participatory design process and the maintenance of the green space.

The book’s abundant illustrations and stories show readers  how ecological schoolyards can improve students’ classroom performance, increase selfesteem, better lifestyle practices, and instill in young students a much-needed sense of environmental stewardship.

With this handbook to guide the planning, design, and implementation process, educators, parents, students, designers, and environmental activists will see the potential for redesigning under-utilized schoolyard spaces to cultivate richer learning and play experiences.

About the Author
Sharon Gamson Danks is an environmental planner and the founding partner of Bay Tree Design, a Berkeley-based landscape architecture and planning firm. A frontrunner in the green schoolyards movement, Danks has visited and documented more than 200 green schoolyards and parks in North America, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Europe, and Japan, and has facilitated the master-planning for dozens of ecological schoolyards. Sharon is currently working with the San Francisco Unified School District on a groundbreaking green schoolyard program, and serves on the national board for the
Community Built Association, as well as the advisory board of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance. She is the lead-author of the Green Schoolyard Resource Directory for the San Francisco Bay Area; a contributor to Landscape Architecture Magazine, Orion, and Green Teacher; and co-designer of the Sustainable Schoolyard exhibit displayed at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2008.

About New Village Press

New Village Press is a public-benefit publisher specializing in works about grassroots community building, urban ecology, and community cultural development. The press publishes progressive non-fiction that offers useful solutions to critical social, environmental and economic challenges. It is a division of the national non-profit organization, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.

Giving Parsley a Haircut

Harvesting parsley on a regular basis will keep it from going to seed and ensure a steady supply. Being a great source for Vitamin A and Vitamin C be sure to include parsley in your favorite sauces and soups.

Twitter + School Gardens = #SchoolGardenChat

Twitter may not be as popular as Facebook, but for school gardens Twitter is an indispensable tool. With over 175 million users generating over 65 million tweets a day one cannot ignore the networking benefits that Twitter offers.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service enabling users to send and receive messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters that are displayed on the user’s profile page.

Recently, real-time chat among twitter users has become a popular way for followers of a particular topic to meet, exchange ideas, and make new friends.

On Thursday Feb 10th, at 6:00PM PST
and every Thursday thereafter
School Garden Weekly (@SGWeekly) and
School Garden Guru Mud Baron (@Cocoxochitl)
will be hosting a 1-hour school garden chat on Twitter.
We invite each and every one of you to attend.

To access you will need to do the following:

1) Become a member of Twitter if you are not already. Membership is free. For support help, see Twitter basics.

2) At the specified time, enter #schoolgardenchat (with hashtag #) in the search window and voila, the conversation will unfold before you. If you’re not familiar with the use of hashtags see Twitter Support: What are Hashtags?

3) When posting remember to include #schoolgardenchat at the end of your post to insure it appears in the chat queue, otherwise we won’t see it.

What to Bring to the Party:
1) Tell us about your school garden.
2) What are your top 3 challenges?
3) Share your resources and knowledge.

Join the conversation.  Join us for #schoolgardenchat

Harvesting Swiss Chard

When harvesting Swiss chard remove the outer leaves and leave the smaller inner leaves intact for future growth. Swiss chard is a biennial which means it goes to seed after two years. Take good care of your crop and you can experience a very lengthy and productive growing season.